Reflecting on inclusion in #CDNtech

Women in Tech
Plus: The new venture studio backed by Shopify, Wealthsimple, Knix execs.

“While the society construct is transforming, there is still an important portion of women who are also caretakers. Therefore, flexible workspaces and schedules, performance assessments focused on deliverables versus facetime, relevant benefit structures, and day-time networking activities, are a few simple ways to be inclusive and to not lose valuable talent.”

Lise Birikundavyi of BKR Capital shared those thoughts while reflecting on the issues women in tech still face in light of International Women’s Day (IWD). Flexibility at work could help remedy the lack of diversity in tech, which a CWVC report found is hampered by a lack of inclusion and other limitations such as unclear parental leave policies.

Managers can particularly boost diversity efforts in the “back rooms where decisions are made,” Real Ventures’ Katy Yam told me. It’s especially important considering that women remain a smaller fraction of the managerial and entrepreneurial workforce in Canada—that’s from a report, compiled in BetaKit’s IWD essential reading list.

Supporting women in tech just makes good business sense, too, added Sarah Stockdale of Growclass, which recently received $1.7 million in funding from Upskill Canada. “As women, we have unique experiences men can’t replicate. We can see gaps in the market that are invisible to men. Our problems, in every industry, have gone unheard, unresearched, and unsolved for decades. That’s why we can build incredible companies.”

OMERS Ventures’ Jennifer Janson nicely summed up my own feelings about affecting change for women in tech: “I wish we could stop with all the talk and performative statements and simply do the right thing: focus on diversity for the competitive edge that it brings, not because it’s a box to tick.”

BetaKit has compiled a list of organizations and programs that support women’s initiatives, a resource that we update every year. We ask that any gaps on these lists be taken as an opportunity to add to it, in our efforts to amplify the hard work of those who seek to create a more diverse and equitable ecosystem (not just for one day, but year-round).

Thanks for reading on and ‘til next week, 
Bianca Bharti
Newsletter Editor


Canadian tech leaders back new venture studio Simple Ventures

Leaders from across Canadian tech, including executives from Wealthsimple, Shopify, and Ada, have joined forces to launch and back a new Canadian venture studio.

Toronto-based Simple Ventures has launched today with a mission to bring “innovation home to Canada.” The studio specifically looks to identify products and services that aren’t available in Canada, then partners with founders and its network of investors to bring those products to market.

(Read more)

Tenstorrent founder reveals new AI chip startup Taalas with $50 million in funding

The startup said the $50 million was raised across two rounds led by Quiet Capital and Pierre Lamond, who is an advisor at Eclipse Ventures.

Founded in 2023, Taalas is developing what it calls an automated flow for quickly implementing specialized chips that can each run different AI models. Taalas was founded by CEO Ljubisa Bajic, the founder of Tenstorrent, as well as Drago Ignjatovic, and Lejla Bajic, who were early engineers at Tenstorrent.

(Read more)

Intellectual Property Ontario finds permanent CEO in Dan Herman

Herman is IPON’s first permanent CEO. Since the intellectual property agency was launched in 2022, the CEO role was held on an interim basis by Peter Cowan. BetaKit was first to report Cowan would lead the agency, and in January, Cowan left IPON and was named president and CEO of Innovate BC, taking over from Tomica Divic.

(Read more)

Canadian tech leaders headline speaker lineup for inaugural INNOVATEwest

On April 16 and 17 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, INNOVATEwest will bring together tech, enterprise, and corporate stakeholders, to showcase industry leaders and established and emerging tech firms.

Like with SAAS NORTH, BetaKit is an INNOVATEwest media partner. And just like SAAS NORTH, INNOVATEwest’s inaugural BetaKit Keynote Stage will be the place to see and hear from Canada’s movers and shakers.

(Read more)

Passwords are showing their age. Here’s the tech set to replace them

Cyberattacks are hitting hard and fast. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost $554 million CAD due to fraud in 2023 alone–up from $531 million in 2022.

Passwords, which are intended to act as the first layer of protection for user data, often turn out to be the Achilles’ heel. Approximately 80 percent of verified data breaches can be traced back to weak, reused, or compromised passwords.

(Read more)

Canadian businesses are optimistic about growth in 2024. Here’s why

Recent reports have outlined a grim scenario for Canadian small to medium-sized businesses. Higher interest rates, rampant inflation, looming recession fears, and geopolitical turmoil are all contributing to a seemingly bleak outlook for the year ahead.

However, research conducted by Zoho Canada over the last year offers a different perspective. These reports, which surveyed thousands of small business owners in Canada across a variety of industries, reveal a wave of optimism among Canadian SMBs, with last year’s survey finding that nearly 75 percent expect to grow by one to 20 percent in the next year.

(Read more)


Take business further with Dynabook Portégé X40L

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The MIL-grade Portégé X40L offers a frictionless computing experience for professionals on a mission. Equipped with Dynabook’s in-house BIOS and a suite of enterprise-level connectivity features, this top-tier laptop offers everything you need to maximize productivity and move your business forward.

Shop Dynabook Portégé X40L to get big performance for small business.

Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

SFO – Synctera – $25.3M CAD
VIC – Cognito Health – $2M CAD
VAN – Ontraccr Technologies – $1.2M CAD
CGY – Ziing acquired Metroland Parcel Services
CGY – PayShepherd – $7M CAD
KW  – Miovision acquired Traffic Technology Services
TOR – Taalas – $50M


Float’s CEO on bridging the spending and software divide

Float CEO and co-founder Rob Khazzam discusses the frustrations Canadian businesses face in managing and executing their finances, the harmful effects of stalled financial innovation, and his company’s atypical approach to product roadmapping.

“The truth is we have a tremendous amount of comfort in the ambiguity of our vision.”

Feature image courtesy Christina @ via Unsplash.

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti is the newsletter editor at BetaKit, where she spearheads coverage and analysis of tech news in related products. Before BetaKit, Bianca covered the nexus of markets, industries and policy in a variety of formats as a reporter for the Financial Post. There, she won silver in SABEW's 2021 Best in Business Journalism Awards in the personal finance category for one of her pieces. In her free time, she enjoys swapping her reporter hat for a baseball cap to hit up some hiking trails with her dog. She also weirdly loves debating monetary policy.

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